How to Travel With Older Parents

Oct 7, 2021 | Parenting Tips, Travel Tips

It’s always important to make an effort to spend some quality time with your parents, especially when they’re getting older. While your main priority might be ensuring that the family you’ve brought into this world is taken care of, don’t forget the people that brought you into this world! 

Of course, there are many ways to spend quality time with your parents in their later years. Even just having dinner can be fun! But if you want to push the boat out and create some fantastic memories, then it’s worthwhile looking at taking a trip. However, there’s no avoiding the fact that traveling with older parents can pose some unique challenges. In this blog, we’re going to run through some useful tips that’ll ensure your trip is smooth sailing from beginning to end. 

Take a Day Trip First

You’ll naturally run into some issues when you’re traveling with your parents. They’re unavoidable. You can make things much easier for yourself by having a sense of what those issues will be. One way to get this information is to take a day trip before you decide to go on a longer journey. It could be to a nearby city or a big attraction; it doesn’t matter. While you’re doing that, you’ll soon discover what type of traveling flow you are creating with your parents. And with that information, you’ll be able to get a sense of how you’ll all travel together, and what you might need to handle beforehand.

Speak With Their Health Professionals

If you’re going somewhere a little more adventurous, or that involves something that’s in any way complicated (even boarding a plane), then it’ll be important to speak with your parent’s doctor. They’ll be able to tell you if they’re safe to undertake the journey. They’ll also tell you how to handle your parents’ medication and any signs to look out for. Basically, having a small conversation with them will take up very little of your time but might just ensure that you’re able to have a safe journey!

Research the Destination

It’ll also be important to conduct some research relating to where you’re going before you depart. You can do this on various levels. For instance, you can look at the destination as a whole. There’ll be some places that just aren’t suitable for older people, but some cities/places that are. More specifically, you’ll need to look at the hotel in which you’ll be staying. Is that a place that is accommodating for all people? Is there disabled access and so forth? As with speaking to the health professional, none of these things will take too long — it’ll be as simple as a Google Search. If you find any issues, then you’ll be able to tweak your plans to make them more accommodating. 

Packing Everything They Need

You can go a long way towards making sure that your trip with your parents runs smoothly just by making sure that they have everything they need with them. Be sure to help them pack and take a look at the weather of the destination so that they’re not caught out by any unwelcome elements. 

Handling Issues 

Depending on the health of your parents, you may have to deal with a few issues when you’re on the road. It might even be more likely that they pick up issues than it is when they’re at home. It’ll probably be more difficult to manage because they’re away from their usual routine. All that you can do is work to minimize the risks and help them to feel comfortable. Doing this could just involve conducting some research beforehand. For instance, knowing what’s involved when it comes to identifying adult diaper rash or looking up if there are any diseases common in the destination that you’re visiting. Remember, after all, that your parent’s immune system probably isn’t as strong as yours is. 

Plenty of Time

If you’re one of those travelers that likes to run a tight ship when you’re traveling, then you might want to change your approach with this trip! You can sometimes get good deals on early flights or brief layovers, but it’s important to remember that your parents won’t be able to move as fast as you can. If the only way you’ll be able to make your connection is by moving quickly, then pick a different journey. The emphasis should be on taking things slow and steady!

Building in Rest

You might have the habit of simply seeing as much as possible when you’re traveling. But you’ll need to remember that your parents are unlikely to have the same level of energy as you do. As such, you’ll need to think about the schedule that you make for your travels. Is there enough downtime in it? It’s a good idea to speak to your parents beforehand, so you know how much they like to rest during the day, at what times, and so forth. If you can’t get that information for any reason, then you just keep a slot in the afternoon free, so everyone’s able to just take a rest for a couple of hours. 

Varied Activities

As well as building in rest, take a look at what activities you’re getting into the schedule, too. What you want to do and what your parents want to do may be pretty different! You can just ask them, or look up some elderly friendly activities. 

Emergency Services 

Anything can happen when you’re on the road. All you can do is be prepared for whatever comes your way. When it comes to your parents, you’ll find that you can get a lot of peace of mind by simply making sure that you have extensive travel insurance and that you know the numbers of the emergency services and so forth. You’ll hope that you won’t need either, but should anything happen, you’ll be happy that you thought ahead. 

Shared Duties 

You can’t expect to be the only person looking out for your parents on your trip, especially if it’s a big job. You’ll need to take a break too. If you’re traveling with other members of your family, then be sure to make sure that they chip in too. Of course, how much they’re able to do will depend on various things, such as their age. But even then, they can maybe do something, even if it’s just making sure that they’re having a good time while you can take care of other issues. 

Staying Patient

There’s no avoiding the fact that you’ll need to pack some patience with you when you’re traveling with older people. You may not be able to do everything that you would have done if you were traveling alone. However, remember that this is more important than you simply having a good time. This is about creating new memories with two of the most important people in your life. In many ways, this trip isn’t so that you can have a good time — it’s so they can have a good time. And trust us when we tell you that, one day, this is a gift that you’ll be very happy you gave. 


Traveling with your parents should be an enjoyable experience. It’s just that, at some stage, you’ll need to work to ensure that things run as smoothly as possible. Follow the tips that we’ve outlined above, and you’ll be well on your way towards having a trip that ticks all the boxes, both for you and for your parents.

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